Friday, December 10, 2010

Growing Old

                                  Growing old and how? Do I watch out for those tell-tale signs of ageing? The first grey hair, the odd wrinkle, ……. Are these telling me that I am growing old?  No, not really, in a roundabout way it is Ramam letting me know, Amma, you are growing old. As I see mothers of the younger ones discussing the initial diagnosis, seeking advice on potty training, quite unwittingly have I fallen in to the senior bracket! His needs to attend to nature‘s call in public place is another way of me knowing that he is a big boy and me no young either. He now uses only the gents’ toilet. Gone are the days when he would accompany me to the ladies toilet. And the big, big giveaway, is my receding hairline and my son beginning to sport the first minute traces of facial hair on his upper lip. It would be ridiculous to call it a moustache, but yes it is very much there for a pair of trained eyes to see. And of course that would be me and my husband.
                                  Then I come back to the question growing old and how? .Before long, I would wake up to find that Ramam would be 20. My days may not be dictated by his therapy schedule. The journey began long ago. It is akin to crossing a bridge, from point A to point B, crossing it being inevitable. But when you have the support and understanding of your loved ones, it is easier. Somebody with whom you can talk to what Ramam was when he was 2yrs old and laugh over it, lest the journey be too tedious, somebody to share your moments with, somebody to share the responsibilities. Sometimes I do wonder what Rama would like as a 40 yr old.
                            Sometimes it makes me ponder about life. In the year and half that I moved to Bangalore, two mothers have been widowed, one’s husband is in and out of the hospital, somebody’s husband has lost his job. Apart from the major task of handling an autistic child, how many other upheavals do parents face? At the end of the day, I just pray let my family be there for me as I grow old and so there I have answered the HOW. Anyway it is not such a rosy picture as I paint it to be as there some frictions, minor tensions, brick bats along the way. It is but natural there are some thunderstorms and even tsunamis ,but they abate leaving me thankful for what I have!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Do It Now For Your Child

This is an earnest request to all of you readers, especially parents, serving the autistic community to go online and sign the petition which says not to repeal the National Trust act. We must not lose sight of the basic character, nomenclature, and objectives of this act. The National Trust act serves to take care of the interest of our children. The thought that is uppermost on every parent’s mind is what after us?  To take action, please click on the link below
                        Also visiting their website http://www.thenationaltrust.co.in/ also gives you an insight as o the services, insurance schemes, respite care schemes that are made available to our children. At least somebody in the ministry has put some thought and effort in anticipating the requirement of this special community. The sad part is nothing works at the moment.
                           The least all of us can do, is to join our hands together, go onboard and sign the online petition   and when………………..NOW, NOW, NOW. The more noise we make, the more our children stand to benefit better.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Neighbours All

                                Leaving in a society, in an apartment complex, one cannot do away with your neighbours. When I say neighbors, I mean it in a very general manner of speaking, my next door neighbor, to my neighbors on my floor, to neighbors in my block to all of them in our housing society. Fortunately the first two categories of our neighbors have been very good to us, maybe even fantastic but  the 20% living in our complex have been giving me those minor pin pricks and probably some amusement when I recall these events. This is so with other parents, living in apartment complexes who also say the 80% are generally fine.
                                 Recalling these events, one of my “neighbors” in the adjacent block, apologized profusely beforehand telling me not to mistake her if she was wrong. Thinking it must be the usual questions about Ramam’s behavior/problem I asked her to go ahead. She said she dries her clothes in the common terrace and few of her clothes are missing. She was wondering if it was Ramam, by any chance who was throwing the clothes down. She recently lost some good bed sheets. I told her that there was a circular in the notice boards that the management has taken some action against some housekeeping staff who has been pilfering the clothes. I asked her, have you not read the notice? I also told her he does a whole lot of things he does but not definitely throwing clothes from the terrace. She still gives me the looks when I am with Ramam on the terrace. I think of it sometimes and brush it off as one of those many incidents.
                              We live on the 6th floor; the lift ride everyday also offers some interesting insights. There are some who maintain a much studied indifference to us, these silences are so loaded, and I wait for the lift to stop. Some try to have a word with my daughter. The domestic help party sometimes look at me is askance of his behavior. There are a myriad of expressions varying form sympathy to a frown to very rare instances of an expression bordering on disgust. Recently, Ramam was clapping his hands in the lift and an old man ordered me “teach your son manners”. I immediately rose in defense and said he was challenged. He immediately apologized, but I regretted much later having said that because Ramam kept pushing me away all the way to his therapy. I could have probably smiled and ignored that old man. Anyways the morning was ruined for me. Very few are actually friendly to Ramam and wish him a goodmorning or a  hi. 
                                           The award to the worst neighbor undisputably goes to this lady. She has an autistic son, probably very high functioning, but still in a state of denial to the point of being abusive to others. Another lady had told me the boy was autistic, and so I started observing this child. One day I walked upto her and told her my name is so and so, and my son is autistic. She immediately retorted my son is not.  Why am I hell bent on labeling somebody? I told her sorry; I do not wish to hurt your feelings. I walked away. An hour later she calls me up on the intercom and started howling at me. I asked her how do you know my apartment number. She went on I am a trained therapist; my husband is an IT professional. Do you know Bill Gates is autistic? I then asked her does it take away that man’s greatness. She then told me I have observed Ramam. He is quite ok. Why are you tarnishing his image and that hurt real bad.  She is entitled to her opinions about her son but has no business passing a judgment on my upbringing of Ramam. She stays away from all social gatherings in the society. I do not understand how this benefits her son. She told me wait and watch,” I shall make my son a world champion”. I wished her well and hung up. To this day when I hear the boy’s bike wheels crunching sound on the gravel, I walk a mile away. Then I think there is rejection within your own autistic community and then what to speak of the world? 

More GFCF Receipes:

Here are some of the recipes I tried this month
 Guava smoothie:
1 Guava
1 Banana
1 cup orange juice
1tsp lemon juice
1Tbsp honey
 2 Handful of ice.
                                Peel and slice the fruits in bite size chunks, add the juices and honey, put them in a blender and blend.

Protein mix:
                            Tried my hand at making a homemade protein mix for Ramam. I used finger millet, (500g approx), 50g ground nuts,  whole green gram, groundnuts, chick peas, roasted gram, 2-3 tablespoons of  horse gram ,black gram , boiled rice (250 g),3-4 small cardamom pods. I did not add almonds, as it may reduce the shelf life of the powder. Fry all these ingredients separately and bled into a fine powder. The powder has to be fine, otherwise it leaves a sediment layer when mixed with hot water. Take a tbsp of the powder; add required qty of sugar, and hot water. This mix is ideal when you wish to give your child a hot beverage substitute and not the usual tulsi tea. As Finger millet is the main ingredient it may have a cooling effect, and hence not so ideal in winter


Creamy Carrot soup:
                                    Cut the potatoes and carrot both 2 in numbers, into chunk sized pieces, I onion roughly chopped, substituted skimmed milk with almond milk, 1-2 garlic pods, pinch of saffron , salt and pepper to taste. Pressure cook the carrot and potatoes. Saute the onion, garlic in a skillet with ¼ tsp oil and cook for about a minute or two. Transfer the contents to a food processor. Pour the mix into a saucepan, and heat it up. Add the almond milk and saffron. Stir for a minute or two and turn off the heat. Garnish with pepper. The soup is delicious and taste awfully good.For more GFCF soups,check this post out http://care4autism.blogspot.com/2009/02/soups.html

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Voices For Autism

The ALFAA (Assisted Living for Autistic Adults) and the autism society of India together organized a day of fun and frolic for the autistic children at the ASHA (army) centre for developmental disabilities, commemorating the children’s day celebrations. More importantly, an update on the disability act, (RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES ACT 2010 – INCLUSION AND FULL PARTICIPATION) and census were also taken up and discussed at length. A new law for disabled persons is being chalked out and is likely to be formalized sometime early next year. A lot of thought has gone in to drafting the recommendations that have been sent forward to the Centre at Delhi. The purpose of today’s agenda was twofold, one primarily to educate the parents on the far reaching consequences of the law once it comes into effect; and secondly to encourage active participation of parents at least at the state level.
                                       There was a sense of urgency as the new law that would be enacted would be valid for the next 25 yrs. It is very important for the autism community, that Autism be included as a disability in the Act for only then can they get the amenities that are sorely lacking. Presently, the census has not included autism under the main classification of disabilities. This is a major disadvantage, as the autism community is not able to voice its concerns. As the law is too lengthy to be discussed in one sitting, it was decided that two chapters on education and rehabilitation be taken up. Smaller sub groups were formed of parents, to help attend to requirements of education and age related issues.
                                           The session concluded with everybody partaking lunch and planning with renewed vigour for more cohesive action. For further enquiries and suggestions   the Autism society of India, Bangalore chapter can be reached at autismsociety@gmail.com      

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

“WHY” AND ME?

Back in my school days a simple question to a friend, “Why is there no class today” would be answered with a glib, prompt reply “because the sky is so high”. Now, what kind of answer would be that? I would have loved to wipe the smirk on my friend’s face that accompanies this rejoinder. It was considered cool then. So then, I must say my tryst with the “why” questions began quite early in life. It continues to bother me even now in the form of language building exercises for Ramam.
                               The therapist would shoot off a question, how comfortable is he with the “WH” questions. I would give a vague answer, he is ok with what questions, not so ok with the where questions and an absolute no-no with the why questions. By now, I almost apologetic for the state that he is in. Recently a therapist asked me the mother of all questions. Is he comfortable with the cause and effect questions? I almost fell off my chair. I pronounced it more deliberately c-a-u-s-e and e-f-f-e-c-t questions, hoping it strikes a chord somewhere. I told her no way, could you elaborate? Here I was still groping in the dark with the Wh questions and somebody throws a googly at me….
                                     The therapist explained, cause and effect as simple as it sounds, does he relate that when I tell him to switch on the switch for the  fan, the fan would rotate or it is hot and switching on the fan would make it cooler….. Something on those lines. Aahhhhh,  now the C and E questions made sense to me.
                                       On one hand I am struggling with the wh questions, make a list of all possible questions that I can think of . Shooting an impromptu question to Ramam when he is having his bath, why are you using hot water to take bath, counting on all those lost opportunities where I have failed to ask the right Wh question at the right time. On the other hand is my daughter with her never ending questions, the why ones singularly dominating, that at the end of the day I tell her stop “whying” me. A simple ok just to pacify her and my over wrought nerves is met with an equally defiant and challenging “What ok,ok,ok?” And so I give up for the day, only to face the never ending barrage of questions the next day. And so it continues……..but then what would my life be without these two kids to brighten my days and life?
                                        This is wishing all the readers a very happy and safe DIWALI.

Monday, October 25, 2010

ASHA - Sports Day

                                    ASHA conducted it’s annual sports meet on the 23rd of this month, on a Saturday afternoon. The canvas was large as usual. Be it the Ramayana for the annual day, or the sports day, the arrangements are elaborate. From the invocation, to one of the students inviting the gathering, to a ceremonial oath taking, to declaring the games open, to the March fast, drills, yoga demonstration……the works! I had a sense of déjà vu, as the events unfolded for the day. At no point did one feel this is an event organized for special kids. All the students wore a blue t-shirt with the ASHA logo printed on it. The staff also wore kurtis designed by the self help wing of ASHA. The motifs on the kurtis have been designed and block printed by the children.
                               At the same time there was no pressure on the kids to perform, but surprisingly the children also behaved well. It started out as a very bright sunny afternoon, but after a drizzle, it cooled down amazingly. About 100 children participated in various events - the track events, field events, fun games. There were games organized for the parents, the staff of ASHA and the sponsors-ORACLE. The children did not have to wait too much as multiple events were being conducted simultaneously. The snack arrangements were also pretty good.
                                    The event concluded with the prize distribution ceremony. My hero stood second in all the events he participated in –running race, sac race, and throwing the ring. He was very much “present” and participated with considerable ease completing the races on his own.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Shut down In Support Of Autism

                                             Autism charities in more than 40 countries are joining forces to launch a global campaign challenging the world’s 4.5 billion social media users to shutdown their networks just for one day on 1 November 2010.The million dollar question is can you get on for a day without being on twitter or face book. It is an initiative launched to raise funds and awareness for autism. You can make a donation to receive a CHAPP that signals your shutdown across the social networking sites.
                                        In the words of Rachael Harris, a counselor and supporter “Electing to shutdown social communication mirrors autistic silence. But it also draws attention to the isolation and intense loneliness experienced by those who are impeded from connecting socially with others. The CHAPP is a powerful way to create a true sense of empathy towards those on the autism spectrum." The CHAPP tells your friends and followers on Face book and Twitter that you are volunteering to shutdown with an online shutdown badge. It is an effort to make people understand what autistic children go through in their everyday lives. More on this in their website https://communicationshutdown.org/
                                                 I remember, long back my husband decided to go mum for half a day to mirror Ramam’s silence. He found it very difficult and we wondered how Ramam copes with it every day. Children in the spectrum face communication difficulties, but it is probably more difficult for the non verbal kids. Many a times with Ramam,we have realized  the fact that we have understood him, his demand has been acknowledged makes him calmer. It is not necessary that we yield to him every time.I was just recalling this incident with Ramam hat happened a year back

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Millet Masti

For those of you on the GFCF diet, millets are definitely a healthier way to go. Especially the health conscious, senior citizens vouch for the goodness of millets. It is a healthier option compared to rice and wheat. Some of them are Finger millet (ragi), little millet (sama in Kannada, koda bagar in Hindi),  jowar (sorghum), pearl millet (sajje in kannada, Bajra in hindi, kambu in Tamil), foxtail millet (tenai in Tamil, Navene in Kannada). The only so called hitch is all these flours is ,they  need to be mixed with hot water, as they do not have gluten as a binding agent. So, here some of the blogs that I came across while looking for millet recipes http://millets.wordpress.com/ .
                               This blog http://thisissucksman.blogspot.com/2009/03/bajra-roti-simple-and-easy.html  shows you the way to make bajra rotis. Well illustrated with photos. And as I had mentioned in one of my earlier post I tried rotis with jowar flour and they come out beautifully. I also made aloo parathas and puris with them. I personally feel a slightly tangy curry offsets the bland flavor of the jowar flour. And yes they must be eaten hot. Next on my to- try recipe list is Sama kichidi.
                    Here is another good link that Gina send me http://drhyman.com/5-steps-to-kill-hidden-bad-bugs-in-your-gut-that-make-you-sick-2356/

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Eating out in Bangalore

                                               These are two restaurants that hold  some promise for a GFCF menu when eating out. They are both as diverse as chalk and cheese. One is Suggi that offers malnad cuisine and have their branches at Malleswaram and New BEL extension. The ambience is good. The service is average. They have some interesting items on the menu as the Suggi basket - Kadabu, neer dosa, shavige, all served in a dimsum basket (how mangalorean is that). Anyway it has to be had with the curries available in the main course. The food again is average. A meal for  a family can be anywhere between 700-1000.
                      The other one is Kamath @kamth yatri nivas. This one is on the same road as Sapna book stall. It is more like a mess rather than a hotel. Service is super quick; they could probably beat Mcdonalds to it. The beauty of this place is the hot, hot jowar rotis they serve, fresh out of the tava. The cooks sit in a line in the verandah on the kitchen side. You can actually watch them make it. Meal per person is Rs.1oo.One can tell them in advance if you don’t want the curds and buttermilk. It is more like ghar ka khana. (Homemade food). Nutritious and tasty.
                                  There is Sivananda stores near the sivananda circle that sells jowar flour. I spoke to the in- charge at Kamath and he  said they mix rice and jowar flour in the proportion 10:90. Jowar itself is very coarse. Back to baking at home. Check out the pumpkin cookies

                                              

Pumpkin cookies

After a long time baked these cookies.They feel  soft at the centre and crisp on the sides.I have adapted this recipe form the joy of baking. I have used white sugar instead of brown for the simple reason I didn't have it in my pantry.

2 cups (260 grams) GFCF flour                        
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
 2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups (260 grams) light brown sugar
1/2 cup (120 ml) canola oil or corn oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (215) grams pumpkin puree
                              Preheat oven to 165.c. In a bowl sift all the dry ingredients. In a bowl beat the eggs and sugar, until light. Beat in the sugar, vanilla extract, oil, puree. Beat in the flour until incorporated. Place small scoops of batter on the prepared baking sheet at intervals of2 inches.
   Bake for 15-18 minutes. A tooth pick inserted in the centre of the cookie should come clean. Cool in a wire rack.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New ABA school at Hebbal and Domulur, Bangalore

         The Samvaad institute of speech and hearing at Hebbal,  provides treatment for all communication disorders. The Director, Radhika Poovayya,  is a speech language pathologist with 23 years of experience. She is presently training to be a board certified behavior analyst. Under her guidance ABA services are being provided for children with autism at the institute in Hebbal.
                               ABA services are now available for children at Hebbal from the 6th of Sept 2010.Daily sessions of 1 /2/3/4 hours are available. Individual sessions will be given to all early learners and once the child’s skills improve child will be introduced to small groups of 2 and 3. All programs will be monitored and supervised by Radhika Poovayya. To quote Radhika “Research has proved that providing 25 to 40 hrs a week to a child with autism is effective .Our personal experience using ABA  has been extremely good and we have got  amazing results with our children .This  has prompted us to plan an expansion of services so that we can provide more hours of therapy to each child and reach out to more children at an affordable cost”. She has earlier conducted ABA workshops under the aegis of Smitha Awasthi in 2007 and 2008. She also intends to organize parent training programs at regular intervals. They recently held a parents meeting to help parents share their opinions and voice their concerns.
                                 Radhika Poovayya, plans to start her first batch of students for the school with a maximum strength of 25 children. Registration is open for admission of children with autism at the institute. She is also offering similar ABA services at Domulur from 15th oct 2010.  For those of you wanting to look at ABA as an option, Pl email queries / book appointments to samvaadinstitute@yahoo.co.in

Friday, September 3, 2010

Random musings

As I keep blog hopping,  I am constantly  amazed at the wisdom, courage and fortitude of parents who have been battling autism, in their own way, and passing on their experiences good and bad.  All of it can be overwhelming. Some of these blogs move you to tears. One such blog that needs mention is http://teenautism.com/.
                               Having handled a child with autism for 10 years, here are some thoughts I would like to share.
 For one you can never wish autism away. The complexity and the challenges only keep varying. The mother with a newly diagnosed child may want to know all about potty training, while I am out looking for hobbies that Ramam can pursue.  There are going to be challenges along the way.

Secondly, what works for your child be it therapy, or if you are thinking of medication has to be individualized to meet his requirements. When you adopt a particular teaching method, it does not mean you remain wedded to it to the extent of exclusion of checking out other therapies. It is all a trial and error method that works. We have tried sidha, ayurveda, homeopathy when it come s to medication ……..and in communication everything from PECS, communication folder, to VBA .For a non verbal child these have been crucial aids at some point of time.

Thirdly, you must cherish the child’s every achievement or milestone because after sometime they seem so common place. I remember one mother calling them “inch stones”.

Fourthly, I find it easier to handle a meltdown when I tell to myself it is autism that is acting up and not my son. Despite the so many challenges he faces in a day, Ramam remains cheerful and that is a lot. This is one such instance in his every day. Recently, his teacher sends me a note stating that he does not return to his class independently from the dining hall. He goes down to the basement. I wrote back asking if he is going to pick some lineups (that is acronym we have coined for the small objects he likes to pick up and line up). And so it was. I sometimes really wish to God he could explain himself and his actions.

Fifthly, it is very important to massage their ego and appreciate what they have achieved. In the long run, if as parents we look at ourselves more as facilitators who helped our child to give his best to everything he does. That can go a long way in helping him. The smaller things as keeping the environment  conducive to learning, ensuring he has his done his last piddle , so that he does not wet the bed, ensuring he is not constipated and more importantly remaining  cheerful in his presence. As they say God is in the details. It is not easy, but so it is.

Sixthly, I realize last eight years, I have been rushing Ramam through so many activities. It is important to interact at every single point of time. Today, I ask him if the temperature of the bath is ok. I wait for him to ask for the towel. Ask him to powder his face himself and then go about correcting it. Doing everything for your child, takes away many learning opportunities for him.

Seventhly, many a times they can also surprise you. When you think they are not listening, be rest assured they are hanging on to every word of yours. This makes it doubly important to be careful as to what you talk in their presence.

Eighthly, you are very important to them. Ramam is in the habit of getting on to my lap, pulling my cheeks, if I sit in a therapy along with him. More often than not I am told to leave the room. I am on my guard whenever a new therapist takes on and would like to observe the session. One day after the session got over, I howled at him in frustration. I am told to get out every time because of you. The next time, the therapist was about to ask me to leave, he opened the door and pushed me out before she could complete the sentence. It also goes to show they are also quite sensitive.

Ninthly, Taking care of one’s own health is very important; because it pays in the long run. By looking after yourself you are doing your child and family a favour.

Tenthly, I wish I could make this sound like Ten Commandments, but then I have exhausted all my points. It has been a loooooooong   post.
Here are some links that Gina  sent me.
http://www.recipecircus.com/recipes/Writermom77/

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Not so lucky

We are back to go square one. One month of being on non gfcf diet, things began to go awry. It was like watching the trailer of a beautiful movie that never saw the light of day. We had a rollicking time eating pizza, ice creams, pizzas, pani puri….. The first half of the movie was racy, fun packed but somehow the second half the script began to flounder. Ramam began to get not so good reports from school, therapists. It was a huge disappointment. We had observed earlier also when Ramam was not on the diet, and we used to treat him to pizza, his behavior would be exemplary the next day. There is no logic to it as it is to so many things with autism. So the first fifteen days of the trial seemed to have gone smooth and easy sailing.
                   He is back on the diet last 3-4 days and let’s see how thing go. He already is asking for rotis, curds and pooris. But maybe he understands as I have stopped making them at home now. I do feel sad for him but don’t seem to have a way out. Probably will look at jowar  rotis for everybody at home. Recently I remember reading one  parent mentioning in one of  the yahoo autism groups, that the Ig G tests are not fool proof. GFCF works silently. Now I have no choice left but to believe it.
                        Maybe we will reconsider the diet after a year or two.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Questionnaires

As I was slugging it out with yet another questionnaire, many thought crossed my mind. To begin with, the umpteen number of questionnaires that we had filled since his diagnosis. I remember earlier it used to be a shared experience for me and my hubby dear. We used to mark it with pencils and cross check whether   there was consensus between us. Not to mention the length of each questionnaire. Slowly with the drift of time it was purely my job. In due course, I was subtly reminded that he had a job to keep. So now I take it in my stride quite sportingly.
                 Answering a questionnaire on your child’s mile stones however can be a truly learning experience. (No pun intended). It kind of toots your child’s deficits and there is no denying it. These honest appraisals help you get your act together. Every assessment shows you where the child is on the learning curve. It gives you focus.
                        After a couple of nos’ to some questions, I opened a word document and put the title as Ramam’s deficits as on 8.8.10. The good questionnaires set you thinking. Does he operate a house hold appliance himself?  No, so I have decided to start with the microwave. Does he use a noun+verb combo in his language? I found a little bit of joy in answering this question because he has just begun to do so, albeit in signs and partial vocalization. For example sing twinkle twinkle. Does he give a single word answer to questions? Yes, partially. But then again it is a leap from a questionnaire I filled out may be a year back.
                     After I drew up the list of his deficits, I also realized a 6 day week and  a 24hrs  day, was not much.The message to take home is  keep working, and  the results will follow. As the Gita says, do your work and  do not look at the rewards.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Understanding Autism –The SOMA Way

Here are the answers to some of the questions that have evaded you since the time you had a child on the spectrum
Why is a social smile so difficult for our children?
                                 I have snaps of Ramam when he was small, holding his lips when asked to smile for a photo, which means he has understood the social context but a smile is not an easy one. As Soma explains “In a social situation, there is a stimulus which begins in the hypothalamus, from there the impulse goes to the body to create physical changes, such as muscle contraction  as neurotransmitters are released. The changes are then fed to the somatosensory cortex of the brain, which sends the emotion forward to the frontal cortex where it is interpreted as hey! We have an emotion here”. In simpler words the neural pathway is a long one and a stronger impulse may overcome this impulse. The person with autism may recognize the need to smile, but may not be able to produce a smile at that particular moment, simply because muscle movement at the required moment has failed.

Why is that they display aggression/anger in a social situation. After all it is also an emotion.
                                     Recently my daughter banged the door in a display of anger. I say display because she wanted to prove her anger. My maid was shocked and told me it is not a good thing for somebody so young. Regular kids also have tantrums,and can be angry. It is a different story our kids are expected to be well behaved on all occasions, despite having a problem expressing them. Having digressed, coming back to the point as soma explains, behaviors arise from the limbic pathway. The amygdale in the limbic system is the centre for all primary emotions. This is a shorter pathway and the trigger to the neurons happens faster as compared to the example of   a social smile.

Why couldn’t  X  bring me the book when I asked him to?
                                            The failure to retrieve the book may not mean he does not know which book you are referring to, but may be related to his planning based on his particular perception of reality. Given his fragmented view, he may supplement it with a different activity. Honestly, this explanation is beyond me and maybe you have to figure this out.
                                      There are a lot of questions relevant to handling autism answered in this book. These are some of the ones that interested me.

Friday, July 16, 2010

For GFCF

Recently somebody send me the recipe for panniyaram. This is one another mother sharing her GFCF experience with her son. Although off GFCf, I still cannot resist a GFCF recipe when I come across one. Habits die hard! This is her mail to me. I have put it here with her permission.For those who have second thoughts about discontinuing the diet, here is a word of caution from this mother.


Hai viji,
actually i was shocked after reading ur post " All Clear"
i started to worry. that's why i sent a mail to u
Being a parent u know which is good for Ramam ,still i want share our experience so that it will give u an idea
My son Ramesh(9 years old) after the diagnosis at the at the age of 4 immediately we changed the diet. Last 5 years he is on the diet.Being a tamil south indian it is easy for me to change diet with idli dosai, idiyappam, paniyaram, sambar , pongal vadai etc etc
Like u we have also done the food allergy test for my son before two years and came to know he is not allergic to gluten and casein.
but still we don't want to change the diet because after changing the diet at the age of 4 , he started to give eye contact and started to speak.
now my he is verbal (in my mother tongue tamil) he can sing beautifully , playing classical music on keyboard and all (ofcourse behavioural problems are there)
May be it is because of the diet or not.
As a friend , my wishes to Ramam and ur family
one of my friend told me that most of the autistic children are not allergic to gluten and casien. but still gfcf diet is good for them
The recepie for paniyaram is simple.
take the idli mavu
fry little urud dal ,chopped onion , coriander leves, curry leaves
allow it to cool,
then add these to idli mavu
take one nonstick paniyaram pan
add very little oil and pour the paniyaram mavu and cook till it is golden brown

                    Thank you for the receipe, and this mail might be the incentive for parents who need that little extra push to start the diet.There is no harm done in trying the diet strictly for atleast a month and then drawing your own conclusions.Personally as with this mother I also felt Ramam started verbalising after this diet, and his behaviour also improved. An ABA therapist once told me not to associate his speech with his diet as it night be just in sync with his development plan.it is just that some children vocalise  late.I did not tell her anything but kept my thoughts to myself.

Arts In Motion

Spreading awareness on Autism, Vivek oberoi, is all set to teach dance to children with autism in Mumbai. Arts in motion will be conducting its annual festival in Chembur. The theme will be "Dance with Joy, Accepting Responsibility, and Understanding Autism”. To know more click http://movies.ndtv.com/movie_story.aspx?Section=Movies&ID=ENTEN20100146672&subcatg=MOVIESINDIA&keyword=bollywood&cp. When we were in Pune, Shiamak Davar’s foundation had a separate group that worked with children with special needs. Ramam did a stage show with them. Recently now during the summer vacations, in Bangalore, when I checked for Ramam and my daughter Isha, they did a fees waiver for Ramam. They even wanted to take him in along with his age group. It is heartening to receive such  a warm response when you call.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How Does Education Help Autistics

After the initial diagnosis, the heartbreaks we eventually accept the problem and stat working with our children. Then somewhere along the line, we decide to start academics. We usually begin with matching, sorting….But there have been many a times I or rather me and my husband have wondered how is academics going to help him. We used to get these constant nagging doubts that  if he cannot take a simple command to fetch a spoon, switch off the fan, close the door………………what is to be achieved by him doing activities across a tabletop. But at all those times we were given assurances to keep working on his commands, we were told he will learn gradually. In introspection, had I waited to teach him academics after he stared taking commands, he would have been nowhere.
                                   I have been reading Soma’s Understanding Autism the Rapid prompt Method, Where she tells you show education can help our children very succinctly. Wish I had read this book a few years back. Nobody could have said it better. She has illustrated it with examples.
                                 To quote her “For example, if a person has learnt about fan, he or she can draw upon information already learned about fans and apply reasoning with appropriate encoding, which leads to correct expectancies. This allows for the integration of learning about the dangers of electricity and moving parts so that he or she can determine to stay away from it, rather than to act on the impulsive instinct to touch the fan.”
                    “Taking it a step further, teaching a student with autism about history or current events leads to a greater understanding of what he or she hears in others’ conversations or the television and radio. This results in a greater understanding of the course of human events, which makes the worlds a more interesting place and the individual a better-rounded, interesting person.”
                “I maintain that greater understanding also leads to a diminishment of excitable behavior.”
                 A Mind is a terrible thing to waste, that definitely is something we as parents would agree with her. Looking back, Ramam’s education helps him read, he relates thing s to some extent and possibly without educating him, I would have been left with practically no choices to engage him constructively. I shall be adding few more posts based on her book as I read along.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

More websites

I had written an earlier post on autism friendly websites. Here are some more for children in the age group 4-6.Thank you, Gina for the link. Have fun.
http://www.earobics.com/gamegoo/gooeyhome.html
http://funschool.kaboose.com/
http://www.rapidtyping.com/
http://www.elbuhoboo.com/eng.php
http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/math.html. Ramam enjoyed the fruit shoot games on this site.
http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/
Check out my earlier post for autism friendly websites

Dr. Nandini Mundkur

 I have been getting some google  searches looking for Dr Nandini Mundkur.  She is a developmental pediatrician. She is with the Centre for child development and disabilities Bangalore. She with her team are a group of professionals trained in ADI_ autism diagnostic inventory and ADOS autism diagnostic observation schedule. They are into early intervention. She can be contacted at 080 23342035 or 41205034 .Their website is www.ccdd.in. She is also on the panel of  consultants,  at  Samvad, Institute of speech and hearing, Hebbal, Bangalore.

Monday, June 21, 2010

More resources in Hyderabad.

Little Hearts Hospital at  Masab Tank. The  phone  number is  23372036. One can check for resources with them.
Ranjeeta, she is an occupational therapist, who has specialized in sensory integration issues. Her number is 9441349168.
         Also you may check my earlier post on schools in Hyderabad for more details.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

All Clear

Technically speaking or rather, clinically, Ramam is out of it. The blood test for Ramam has ruled out allergies towards gluten and milk. The floodgates have opened, so as to speak. My daughter has checked and rechecked with me in the last 2-3 days that is it ok for him to have noodles, wheat and milk… in that order. Can he eat dahi chawal is her BIG question. For a boy who loved his rice and curds few years back, he turned it down yesterday after my husband offered it at dinner time. After much cajoling, he hesitatingly tried a spoon of curd and fell in love with it all over again.
                    Does this mean it is the end of GFCF for him and “US “too? Is it time to ring down the curtains   for jowar rotis, akki rottis, and raagi   parathas .Does it mean yes to panner at home? Is it time to watch out for Dominos flyers? Does eating out mean more than dosas, vadas and rice?  Is it ok to have a 5 star, a black forest pastry, pani puri, a gulab jamun occasionally.  And what about ice creams?  Last time Ramam left his orange sorbet from Baskin Robins half finished. Enough is enough is what he seemed to tell us.
                 The answer is both yes and no. We are treading cautiously, almost carefully. We are in the same quandary as when we embarked on the diet. Did GFCF work for him? Yes it did, for sure.  At least that is what we believe. It made life much better. So why would we want to revert back. Two years of reading up on GFCF material, recipes, experiments in the kitchen, maybe all of that would be coming to an end (not this blog! though, that is why I diversified long back, writing everything possible from therapies to teaching methods). But, seriously not being on the diet gives him a better opportunity to socialize. Attending a birthday party, a social function in school, sharing with his class mates.  We don’t want to overdo it either. An occasional indulgence is ok probably when we eat out or socialize. Maybe I would reintroduce buttermilk in his diet though not milk. That reminds me of so many recipes I turned down because they needed buttermilk in the preparation. I would continue to use GFCF flour for baking but probably use butter if the recipe calls for it. PARTIAL  ADHERENCE, that is how I would like to put it.
                     In the last two years we never attributed any of his behavioral issues to his diet. But then questions are already being raised, Is he stimming a little more because he had three spoons dahi last night. Is he constipating because of bread? .Guess we will never be free of these nagging doubts now that we are off the diet. It is a vicious cycle. One doesn’t want to upset the applecart when everything is going fine. One can’t have everything anyway.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sunfeast marathon







I want to thank all the sponsors who have contributed to this cause through online donations and cheques. A big thank you to all of you once again.Here are some photos of the marathon.Ramam and Isha did a 4k where  they joined the majja runners.I beamed proudly as some runners cheered us on saying both  ur kids are running.Unfortunately a beaming self is not in the photo.The next picture is  taken right after the 4k when they joined their father after his 10k.The third one, of course  recouping after the run.

Ramam turns ten

June 6th Ramam turned 10. We had a bday celebration with just the 4 of us. Went for a movie, bought some gifts, and ate out. We watched king khan in My name is Khan at home!  This was a different bday for him from his earlier ones with no bday party, no cake cutting. He picked up and answered all his birthday calls himself this time. A first! .We had done a blood test at the Apollo hospitals for allergies on the 5th.  We are hoping that the tests come negative for the “THE” allergens gluten and casein. We are yet to receive the test results, and then probably that would be his birthday gift. At school he is in  a new class with a new set of teachers.  Wishing that he has a great year ahead of him.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Schools in Hyderabad and Tiruchi

              This school, Saandipani, in Shanti nagar is in Hyderabad. It follows the Waldrof curriculum that does not have a mass appeal with parents of regular kids. It works for our kids feels a mother of an autistic kid. The school believes in lot of physical activities, the academic sessions start only at 11.30. They teach more of vocational skills such as stitching and carpentry. After the gym, OT , and exercises , the mother feels the child is more focused. There are no deadlines. Her son is in the 5th grade. The best part she says, I don’t have to nag him, and he feels it is his responsibility to do his work. I feel that is major, major …. (Guess it cannot be emphasized enough) learning. Today he writes A-Z, numbers independently and she feels it is an accomplishment to be proud of it. Earlier he was doing a whole lot of academics, none of it independently. ABA is an absolute NO -NO with her son. The Waldroff curriculum is based on the principles of Rudolf Steiner. According to him a regular kid is not ready for academics till the age of 7 and a special child till the age of 12. No wonder this philosophy has no takers in India.
                     The other school in Tiruchi, Shivananda balalaya in Srinivasa nagar is a mainstream school with a separate set up for special kids. They gradually integrate the children. The mother, I spoke to says her daughter, a CP child is attending school here. There are autistic children also. And the children are taken care of. They also allow shadow teachers. The student –teacher ratio is 4:1.
                            As the loreal ad with Aishwarya Rai goes “5 problems, one solution…………….” an ad for schooling for autistic kids should probably be something like this “I problem, multiple solutions, no guarantees”.  Anyway the parents cannot be blamed for want of not trying. Montessori, TEACCH, ABA,  Waldroff,  to state syllabi, different techniques, different methodologies  work for our  children. Jo  Jeeta wohi sikander.                       

Friday, May 14, 2010

Equine therapy and autism

Equine therapy is considered a potentially promising therapy model for children especially with  autism, ADHD and bipolar disorders. Equine therapy involves individuals interacting with and riding on horses. Specially trained horses and therapists work  the special child to facilitate the desired change. Equine therapy maybe either therapeutic horseback riding or hippo therapy.  Hippotherapy is a form of physical, occupational and speech therapy in which a therapist uses the characteristic movements of a horse to provide carefully graded sensory input. It is more complex than your therapeutic riding. To do therapeutic horseback riding the child need not have previous experience with a horse. We initially had tried this when Ramam was very young around 2 years. Then his trainer would make him sit on a blanket on the horseback .This way, one feels the movement of the horse better. We used to carry sugar cubes and carrots for the horses. After a hiatus of 8 years he is back to it again. But now he sits on a saddle.
                               It is important to use trained horses for this purpose. Horses are can be trained to respond to simple commands as a whoa, whoa or move back and hence is known to work well with autistic kids. The kids can be taught to give these simple instructions and they are in control of a situation for a change. The children learn to interact with their horse and may extend their learning to other situations. This helps them form meaningful relationships with people. “It has been clinically proven being in the vicinity of horses can change brainwave patterns. They have a calming influence which stops people from being fixated on past or negative events, “says Franklin who works with special children and horses in the UK.
                                   The theory of horseriding apart, kids in general enjoy horse riding .My daughter loves it. They are also taking instruction from the instructor such as pull the rein, bring the horse to a stop, and swing your right leg to get down. Over a period of time this would probably become habit. From my precarious understanding of this therapy model, it is important to for the child and the horse to bond. This may happen only if the same horse is used every time. The child knows the horse by its name and begins to understand and handle the horse. I remember the smile on Ramam’s face when his horse broke into a trot after they started to hurry back when it began to drizzle.
                   
      

Monday, May 3, 2010

Simple basic cake

                               I tried yet another cake after a long time. It is almost like a sabbatical from GFCF cooking. With the kids having their summer hols, one is just trying to catch up with them. Any therapy cancelled or rescheduled spells double trouble, as it means more work for me,  and I need to find options to keep him engaged. Anyways the recipe is as follows. I had wanted to use cashew milk as a substitute, but as the baking had been scheduled during one of his absences from home, I wanted to make it as quick as possible, in the process forgetting to add milk itself. Phew. It is a wonder, the cake still came out well and Ramam asked for more servings.
·         1 cup white sugar
·         1/2 cup ghee
·         2 eggs
·         2 teaspoons vanilla extract
·         1 1/2 cups all-purpose  GFCF flour
·         1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
·         1/2 cup milk?
Directions
.   Preheat oven to180 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x9 inch pan or line a muffin pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and ghee. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan. I just whisked everything in the mixer and poured it into the pan.
Bake for 25  minutes in the preheated oven. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch. It is probably the easiest cake to bake. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Appeal

This is an appeal to everybody reading this blog. Sunfeast is organising the world premium 10K run. ASHA  (Academy for severe handicaps and autism) is one of the charities registered with the Sunfeast 10k marathon. Ramam studies in this school and it is  a great institution. Running a school  and at that a special school handling a complex problem as autism is quite a challenging task.Resources do always fall short, when running an institution as this. It caters to over 95 families in Bashweshwar nagar, and 50+ families in the early intervention unit in Mahalakshmi layout. They are also planning to open another unit for the adults catering to their vocational needs. All this calls for money and more money. Salaries, administrative costs, overhaeads ....... Please contribute generously  to this cause, as many families from the economically underprivileged  sections benefit immensely from this.To donate please click on this link

Thank you, for your generous contribution. As they say small drops of water make the might ocean, I appeal to all you to make a contribution, however small it may be.At the end of the day, it is our kids from the autistic community who are benefitting.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Prof. Abdulkalam's message

On the occasion of the world Autism Awareness day, I  thought it would be befitting to post a transcript of Prof. Abdul Kalam's speech that he delivered at SPJ Sadhana School for the Mentally Challenged. There is a short poem of his and inspiring stories of parents who have handled their children s' disabilities admirably well.He says every autistic child is a spiritual challenge to the family.
We will win, win, win with our mighty will 
We are all God’s children,
Our minds are stronger than diamond.
We will win, win, win with our mighty will.
When God is with us, who can be against!
Innovative recovery of an autistic child 


A success story, Nihar

First let me talk about an autistic child who has been cured and trained by Sadhana School. Nihar presently a student of Visual Arts and Crafts was diagnosed of autism when he was four years old by his parents based on certain symptoms in his communication, walking, and aggressive behaviour.

The parents admitted Nihar in a regular school where teachers were available who could teach special teacher till he was 12. This was not of much help and Nihar was brought to SPJ Sadhana School, tied up in dupattas. He was taken in the ITU (Intensive Therapy Unit) for the first three years, which was a great challenge. His physical violence was really unmanageable both at the school and home. In the classroom he had zero sitting tolerance. This condition improved after his first auditory re-training.

Teachers of Sadhana School worked with Nihar using the programme “Facing Autism through Communication with the Environment”. The programme had four phases.

By using the environment, the innate abilities of Nihar for music and art came to the fore during the third year at S.P.J. and he showed signs of settling down and doing work given to him in the pre-vocational classroom. He started using eye contact and could focus on what was being said to him.

Due to strong inclination towards art, he was promoted to the art department for his vocational training along with alternative therapies like yoga, laughter therapy and brain gym etc. This phase of the programme is based on the integration of the left and the right brain thereby developing the whole personality of the student and enabling him to overcome his autistic disabilities to an extent.

The third phase of the programme was “Linking & Initiating a Network of Communication through Synergy” wherein he was respected and treated as a member of society and had the potential to reach greater goals. This mentoring strategy created a synergy between the mentor and the mentee, between peers and between the student and society. Here Nihar learnt to become ‘part of the group’ in the Visual Arts & Crafts department, interacting with his peers and accompanying them on the outdoor educational excursions. Nihar’s behavioral change took place over a period of one year.

In the last phase the school normalized the parental behaviour and tried to remove psychological blocks towards disability thereby enabling them to become totally accountable and participate fully in the students’ day-to-day living. Nihar’s mother had to be counseled to help her overcome her anxiety and apprehensions, which prevented Nihar from becoming independent. She co-operated with the school programme and really worked hard with her son. Today she is proud mother of Nihar and his achievements.

Nihar completed his training with SPJ Sadhana School for 14-years before joining Shraddha Charitable Trust and has successfully completed two years of his internship. He is an earning member of society with a salary of Rs. 3000. Today, Nihar is an independent individual enjoying all the activities and competitions. He recently participated in the singing competition held amongst the normal children and won the 1st prize. I congratulate the researchers, teachers and staff of SPJ Sadhana School for taking up this challenge and empowering master Nihar even though he was admitted late in the school.

The message we get from Nihar’s experience is, that the parents should admit the autistic child in the school early instead of waiting for many years. Also there is a need for training large number of teachers who can handle special children and be posted to regular schools. This will at-least enable early recognition of abnormality leading to admission of the child in the right atmosphere for treatment and training. I am sure, the educators of special children will make note of this message and take action to propagate among the parents, teachers and the trainers, so that the special children are dealt with in a proper manner without undue worry for the parents, teachers and the community.

Now I would like to share with you a real life story which happened two decades ago in Honolulu. This incident I read in the book titled “Everyday Greatness” written by Stephen R. Covey.

 
Make the impossible, possible 
Lindy Kunishima and Geri the mother had two daughters Trudi, thirteen, and Jennifer, nine, and had a small son Steven. At the age of eighteen month, Geri detected something abnormal with his son Steven. A CT scan by a neurologist revealed that the vermis, an area of the brain that transmits messages to and from the body’s muscles, had not developed. The neurologist declared that, Steven will never walk or talk, that requires muscle control and he is profoundly retarded. Geri couldn't eat or sleep for days. Looking at the mother's sadness, Trudi challenged the doctor’s prognosis and announced that, "she did not believe what the doctor said about Steven and took a note that she will work with the mother till Steven becomes normal. They started reading a passage to him everyday on the dinner table which became a habit. Jennifer and Trudi also asked questions and pointed out animals or people illustrated in the hooks. For many weeks there was no response for Steven.

After three months, one evening Steven suddenly wriggled away from the cushions. The family watched him inching towards the children's books. Steven flipped through the book till he saw the page filled with pictures of animals. Then, just as quickly as it opened, Steven's world shut down again. The following night, as Jennifer prepared to read, her brother crawled to the same book and opened the same page again. This showed that "Steven got a memory" which continuously improved.

Both Trudi and Jennifer played the piano in the presence of Steven. One day after practicing, Jennifer lifted Steven from his place under the piano. This time, he was uttering, new sound. He was humming the music and enjoyed. Simultaneously, the family also worked to build up his muscles through a massage school. Geri, Trudi, and Jennifer dabbed peanut butter on the boy’s lips, by licking it off, he exercised his tongue and jaw. When Steven was four and a half years old, he still couldn't speak words, but he could make "aaah" and "waaah" sounds and he had a remarkable memory. After studying a 300 piece jigsaw puzzle, he could assemble the pieces in one sitting.

After many rejections, Steven was admitted in the Pre-School by Louise Bogart of Robert Allen Montessori School who found that Steven was determined to make himself understood.

One day, Bogart stood off to the side and was watching the teacher work with another child on numbers. "What number comes next” the teacher asked. The child drew a blank. "Twenty!" Steven blurted. Bogart's head swiveled. Steven had not only spoken clearly, but also given the correct answer. Bogart approached the teacher. "Did Steven ever work on this?" she asked. "No,' the teacher answered. "We worked with him a lot on numbers one through ten. But we didn't know he had learned any beyond ten." Bogart told his mother that, "This is just the beginning of what the Steven is capable of”. Bogart said. His motor skills remained poor, so Jennifer, Geri, and Trudi worked hard at making his written scrawl legible. "I can do it.' Steven assured Jennifer one day. "Just give me time”.

After that, Steven continuously improved and was admitted to a mainstream Catholic School in 1990. Such is the power of collective determination to cure a child. 



Tamana the special child 

Now I would like to present an experience of a mother whose child had cerebral palsy. In the year 1970, Tamana’s mother gave a birth to a baby girl from a renowned Hospital. At that time in that Hospital there was no provision for a Caesarian operation. The attending doctor insisted on natural birth. The labor pain started at10.pm and continued upto 2.00 am. Then the doctor applied forceps for the delivery which damaged the brain of the child. Also the prolonged labor pain caused severe hypoxic conditions for the child.

After the birth, the child was unable to hold the head and take milk. The hands and legs were crossed and opening outwards. After 13 days, Tamana was taken to Post-Graduate Institute at Chandigarh. The EEG could not detect the damage. The doctor advised her to go a bigger hospital. It took 2 months for reaching there. When CT Scan was conducted, they found that there was a severe damage in the brain and there is no cure for it. Doctor said, “No improvement is possible”. All that happened is happened. If at all anything happens it is going to be late milestones or delayed milestones.

Mother never gives up: When the Tamana was about 3 months old, she was taken to Doctor Firoz in Bombay and Tamana and her mother spent 1 year in the hospital. He advised many exercises for balancing the energy. After this treatment Tamana was taken to US for further treatment. A lot of physiotherapy was done. She was hung upside down by proper ropes on hands and waist. The feet were to touch the ground and bounce. She was to balance herself on the legs when touching the ground. The swiz ball also was applied, to give her coordination of various muscles. Finally, it took 6 long years to make her stand on her legs.

While Tamana’s parents were in north-east, on the advice of a Narangivala, Tamana’s mother used to immerse her in a mud pit vertically upto shoulders. Then chilly was applied on her mouth. This treatment was done for 3 months everyday for over 15 minutes. As a result of this exercise, the drooling stopped, tongue got more control and words started coming out of Tamana’s throat. While putting in the pit, the feet got stabilized and the other parts also got set. Earlier as the mother was all the time carrying the child around, the leg muscles had not developed at all. At the age of 7, Tamana started standing up. Later she also started climbing the steps with the help of railing, she found it easy and interesting. This helped her develop her concerned muscles.

Simultaneously, Tamana’s mother started giving her variety of water proof books for reading. Tamana began to see understand and read them slowly. Her Mother also used to talk to her continuously. Tamana understood a lot though she was not able to respond or express her feelings back. She was absorbing all those information. And the family kept on talking to her.

At the age of 9 she started talking. All the exposure she had so far now began to come out as expressions. Concentration and abstraction was still difficult for her. Discrimination was very difficult to her which made the mother anxious. She was put to a rigorous course of many hours of different types of learning and work.

She joined Mount Carmel school and started going by a 4 wheeler cycle. Later she began to go in a bicycle. She passed 10th Class and plus 10+2 from national open school with 68 % marks. Her most favorite subject was domestic science. She also completed a course in tourism and Teacher’s Training from IGNOU. She now spends, 3 hours per day on the internet. She continues to do some breathing exercise and Pranayama. She began to dance at the age of 11 year. Her typical day now includes attending Language development class, western music, other work, kathak dance, news paper reading for an hour, teaching in DPS and swimming. Now she has also completed B.A. programme in counseling. 

Today, Tamana is teaching at the DPS infant school, moving smoothly with children and other teachers. Tamana’s experience will definitely provide a great insight on, how parents should persevere and provide the right type of environment, medical intervention and psychological support for bringing normalcy among special children.

Conclusion

Any disorder in human faculty such as autism increases dependence on others and reduces the self esteem of the individual. Researchers must direct their efforts in bringing about a sense of equality amongst children affected by autism. Equality can be generated by prevention, early detection, appropriate training to acquire certain skills and engaging the minds of affected children in productive efforts to enable them to lead a normal life. SPJ Sadhana School is an important component for achieving this endeavor. I am sure that such collective action will bring smiles to the faces of mentally challenged children, their parents and light the lamp of happiness in their family.

While we are finding scientific and training solution for early diagnosis and cure of many types of mental challenges I would like to suggest to the parents to recite the poem, along with the children every night before going to sleep in their mother tongue.

Deliver me from fear
I am not alone,
God is always with me.

If God is for me,
Who can be against.

I sought the Lord, He heard me,
Delivered me from fear.

Divine cure and divine light penetrated into me
And cured my pain in body and soul.

Divine beauty enters into me,
And blossoms into happiness.

When God is for me, who can be against?

This song can strengthen the mind and body of a child and provide good feelings to the parents and care givers. Every autistic child is a spiritual challenge to the family. Can we find the purpose of our life in supporting the life of an autistic child, thus making the child’s life purposeful.

May God bless you. 



                                To all of you who read the entire post , I have only one thing to say that  his message is truly  motivating and humbling. Many of us do get bogged down with our day to day concerns and pressures when handling our children, but stories like these inspire you to carry on.

Google Autism Search Results